Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I´m Not Learning Spanish

Another great week in the CCM has come and gone. I love this place. With my whole heart. I love the spirit that is felt, the relationships that are strengthened (mainly the relationship with the Lord), and I grow to love this gospel more and more every day.

This week has been especially busy because I have been selected to sing in the dedication choir for the CCM. What an amazing experience! I spend a lot of my lunch time practicing and making sure to perfect the pronunciation of the songs in Spanish. I love it. 

I have also been practicing my pronunciation in the classroom. Our teacher gave us a tip on how to sound more.....¨latina¨.

We were told that if we practice reading with a pen in our mouth, that the vowels and consonants would sound more clear. So, Hermana Warren and I have been doing just that. It´s hilarious. I hope our teacher wasn´t just telling us that so that he could get a good laugh ;) 
This week, our district leader decided that our district was going to play a game. It is called the ¨Latino¨ game. Every night, during study time, two of the members of our district are selected to be ¨latinos¨ for the following day. This means that from the instant you wake up at 6:30 you can only speak Spanish until you go to sleep that night. Also, everyone who talks to you has to speak in Spanish. Elder Plummer and I were chosen to be the first ¨latinos¨. It was so hard, but SO fun. At the end of that day, I couldn´t help but think how lucky I am to be learning a language that I love. I LOVE speaking Spanish. Hermana Warren and I set a goal that we are going to speak only in Spanish for the rest of the time that we are here in the CCM. I think it will help a lot....and it´s always a bonus that I enjoy it. 
My CCM District
It sounds like I´ve been learning a lot of Spanish, right? Yes and no. Yes, I have learned a TON of Spanish, BUT I would say that the language that I am learning the most right now is the language of the Spirit. I´m not learning Spanish, I´m learning the language of the Spirit. It´s wonderful! I read a wonderful scripture this week: I Nephi 17: 50-51

¨And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
¨And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?¨

In my scriptures, I crossed out the words ¨build a ship¨ and replaced them with ¨speak Spanish¨. There is such power in that! We can do anything if the Lord instructs us to! ¨How is it that he cannot instruct [you], that [you] should...(insert your struggle here). I know that we can do ALL things when the Lord is on our side. The Lord has sent us here not to fail, but to succeed. 

Yo sé que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días es verdadero. Yo SÉ que Dios nos ama. Yo sé que todas cosas son posible con Dios. 

I know this church is true. I love it with my WHOLE heart. I have exercised faith in my Heavenly Father, and He has not let me down. He will never let me down. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission. This. is. the greatest thing I have ever done. 
Thank you Mom and Dad
I love you all and miss you. 

Sending prayers your way!

Hermana Childs

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Milagros in Mexico

Me and my companion Hermana Warren
Last Wednesday, Herman Warren and I had one of the hardest days here in the CCM. We felt very frustrated with our lack of Español. After our lesson, I asked Hermana Warren if I could have just a minute to go into a room and pray. I walked in, knelt down, and poured my heart out to Heavenly Father. Tears streamed down my face as I tried to explain how I felt. After a few minutes, I figured that I had been alone too long and that I should go be with my compañera again. Right as soon as I opened the door, Hermana Warren was right there ready to give me a hug. I guess there was a crack in the blinds where she could see me. She walked into the room, closed the door, and we talked about how we felt. We felt like a soap opera as we sat down and cried. Hermano Silva, our teacher, came in to see how we were doing. He saw our distress and comforted us with his words. He said something that really stuck out to me. He said, ¨As missionaries, you represent Christ. You are there to tell investigators what He would tell them if He were there.¨ He was right. I thought about what Christ would want them to know. He´d want them to know how much He loves them and to know how much He wants them to live with Him again. Those words came as a great comfort and motivation for our next few lessons. 

The following day was an interesting juxtaposition to the previous one. We invited one of our investigators to be baptized and he accepted! Wow....what an amazing feeling. We know that our investigator is an actor, but if I could feel like that with just an actor, I can´t wait to have a real investigator and have them accept baptism. 

This week Hermana Warren and I got called to be sister trainer leaders! We are so excited! We had a new district come into our branch, and we are thrilled to set the example for them!

January 17 was the one month mark. I have less than one month left in the CCM. Crazy! I have learned so much, but still have so much to learn. The more I contemplate on the reality of the mission field, the more driven I become in my studying. I have set and accomplished so many goals this week in order to be more prepared to teach in New Jersey. 

I have the most amazing news....I have saved the best for last! During Sunday night´s devotional, Hermana Jones, an elderly missionary, announced that on February 9 the CCM is going to be DEDICATED and an apostle of the Lord will be here! AH! Amazing! I couldn´t believe my ears! What an amazing miracle! After the excitement of all of the missionaries died down to a hum, she then announced that she would need a choir to be selected for the dedication service! She said that the sister training leaders, the zone leaders, and the district leaders should pick 2 Hermanas and 2 Elders from their branch to be in the choir. You can imagine how many people came up to Herman Warren and I when they found out that we would be the ones picking who would be in the choir. Hermana Jones specified that they would need to be have a lot of experience singing, they would need to be able to hold their own part, and they would need to be able to learn music quickly. So, logically, Hermana Warren and I asked all of those who wanted to participate to write down all of their musical experience. We thought that we would be able to get a pretty good idea for who was supposed to be in the choir through looking at their resume. This idea didn´t actually end up helping. So, we went to our back up plan....auditions. This didn´t help very much either. We finally decided that we just weren´t going to make the decision......the Lord was. We wrote down all of the names on a piece of paper and asked all of the district and zone leaders to pray about each one. Hermana Warren and I prayed for 30 minutes before bed that night, but didn´t really feel anything in particular, except, the name of one of the elders in my district kept coming to mind. When I prayed about him specifically, a milagro, a miracle, happened. I saw the actual letters of his name. It was amazing. As for the others, I felt like I needed to sleep on it. The next morning, I woke up, prayed, and felt more strongly for others, but this elder´s name kept coming to mind. I knew I needed to tell him. I planned on telling him during personal study. Well, as soon as I got to personal study, he approached me and said, ¨Are you still deciding on who to put into the choir?¨ I said, ¨yes¨. He then asked that he no longer had a desire to be in it and asked for me to remove his name from the list. I was so confused. I thought that the answer I received was a confirmation that he was supposed to be in it. Well.....later that day, during evening personal study, our district received news that this elder was on the phone with his parents stating that he didn´t have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel. He had been in the office of the CCM presidency almost all day talking to them about it. Our teacher came in and asked us to pray harder than we had ever prayed before. We were to pray for a miracle. He pulled out the scriptures and read 3 Nefi 18:18 ¨And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be given unto you¨. Wow. That´s power. I have read that scripture before, but it meant so much more this time. I knew I could call on our Father in Heaven and ask for a miracle. In that instant, our whole district got on their knees and prayed. We prayed the most meaningful, heart-felt prayer and asked God for a miracle. We then prayed individually. As each of us rose from our individual prayers, you could see the concern for this elder in everyone´s faces. It was amazing how much love was in that room. We continued to go about our studying with prayers in our hearts until it was time to go to a different activity. Later on in the evening, this elder met up with the rest of our district with a different countenance. A milagro. A miracle had happened. He came up to me once again and asked if the decision had been made on who was going to sing in the choir. I pulled him aside and asked if he had changed his mind and would like to sing. His reply was, ¨yes¨. I almost cried, I was so happy. Heavenly Father had answered my prayer the previous night about who needed to be in the choir. HE DID. I knew it. He knew it. Miracles happen. I told him how Heavenly Father needed his voice in the choir. I wish I could explain the look in his face. Amazing. I love this gospel. 

What an amazing week of miracles. 

Sending much love from Mexico, 
Hermana Childs

UM....yeah....These exist!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Starting off on a New Adventure

I have been here 6 days and am SO excited to tell you about all of it. 

Day one in the CCM: It was more of a rest and recover day. The plane flight went well, no layovers, only a delay in SLC because the wings of the plane froze, so they had to de-ice the plane. I had a nice chat with a Puerto Rican surgeon about the gospel and I was able to share my testimony with him. It was awesome. First 2 hours of being a missionary, and I´m already having opportunities to share the gospel. Our flight from Texas to Mexico was awesome. I sat next to an Elder who is going to NJ with me. His name is Elder Hammer. He is from Spanish Fork, UT and he is also in my district. When we got to the Mexico airport, I was picked up by CCM employees and taken directly to the CCM. I´m so glad that I arrived in Mexico during the day because the city is AMAZING. I LOVE MEXICO! I was so amazed with the culture even though I only got to see it through the bus window. Everything is colorful. EVERYTHING. All of the street posts are painted, EVERY wall is covered in graffitti, every house is a different color. It is truly amazing. Once inside the gates of the CCM, we were check for our immunizations, given our name tags, sent to dinner, and then given the rest of the night to unpack. Receiving my name tag was so awesome :) I´m a missionary!!!! Later that night my companion arrived. Her first flight was delayed, so she missed her second flight, making her miss her third flight as well. She had to travel all by herself, and she had all of that happen. She´s a trooper. I was so excited to meet her all day and when she finally walked in the doors of our house, I ran and gave her a hug. What an exciting day!

Mexico MTC (CCM)

Dia dos: Classes began. Our day starts at 6:30, we have classes in the morning, early afternoon, late afternoon and evening.....AND everything is in SPANISH. I love it. Second day in the CCM and EVERYTHING is in Spanish. I love this language! It was really hard to understand instructions and to try to express my feelings and communicate with anyone, but I survived ;) The very first thing we learned how to do was pray in Spanish. What a humbling experience to pray to our father in heaven (Padre Celestial), in a language that I hardly know. I know Heavenly Father is listening to my heart as well as my words and I am so grateful for that. After we learned how to pray, we were given a couple of hours to prepare a lesson.....TO TEACH AN INVESTIGATOR! What? Crazy you say? Yeah...that´s what I said to. haha. My companion, Hermana Warren, and I prayed as hard and as earnestly as we could (in Spanish) for the gift of tongues. Other missionaries were walking out of their lessons with their investigators testifying of the reality of the gift of tongues. Well, during the lesson, my companion and I were blessed with a gift....just not that particular gift. ;) Our lesson didn´t go as planned, and we could hardly understand what he was asking. We walked out with dampened spirits feeling a little frustrated. It was silly. We had been in the CCM for 2 days and were expecting to teach with perfect Spanish. As we walked out, I told this to my companion, we laughed a little, and started making goals to tackle the language. 
Mexico MTC (CCM)

Dia numero tres: Spanish is still hard. Crazy, right? ;) BUT this was the most amazing day of the week. Mi compañera and I taught our investigator the second lesson. We had our whole lesson written out in Español and were feeling really good about it. When we began teaching stings started to take a different course. Daniel, our investigator, began asking really deep questions about the atonement. Up until this point we had been reading our lesson word by word, but his questions forced us to rely on the Spirit. Prior to teaching Daniel, I prayed so hard to at least understand what he was trying to say. It worked. Prayer is real. It works miracles. I still wasn´t able to understand or speak perfectly, but I was able to understand and speak better than yesterday. On this day, Hermana Warren and I had a goal to talk to 5 Latinos. We have been told that talking to the natives is one of the best ways to learn the language. All throughout the day, we would pass Latinos and would shy away from the opportunity from talking to them because we didn´t feel confident in our Spanish. This made me sad. I couldn´t believe it. I had made a goal, and I wasn´t even trying to accomplish it! So, I told Heavenly Father that the next Latinos that we saw, we would talk to them. Well......not 10 minutes later, we were blessed with an opportunity. Hermana Warren and I were in our classroom studying for personal study time and a few Latino elders walked by and were standing directly in front of the window in the door. They peeked in, waved, and then turned to talk to each other. I looked at Hermana Warren and said, ¨These are the Latinos we are supposed to talk to.¨ We walked over to the door, opened it and introduced ourselves. Turns out, these elders didn´t know a word in English. Not. A. Word. haha We tried to ask them questions to get to know them better, but I guess our Español isn´t quite perfected ;) haha In return, they tried to get to know us better by asking us questions. It was hilarious! We laughed and had a really good time not quite understanding each other, but getting the jist of what each other was saying. We ended up talking to them for 40 minutes! ***TENDER MERCY ALERT*** by the time that we had to go, we could understand each other and communicate a lot better. Those elders, Elder Escobar and Elder Ibañez are now some of our dear friends. What an amazing day!!! I love this gospel!! 

Hermanas in my district

Day cuatro: Sunday. I love Sundays, but this Sunday seemed especially wonderful. All day long you are in church, or have personal study time, or are in devotionals. It´s wonderful! The devotional today was given by Elder Holland. My chest was burning with the Spirit throughout his whole talk. This devotional was a recording from a MTC devotional in 2012. One thing he said really stood out to me. He said, ¨When you go home from your mission, continue to be a missionary. Look like a missionary, act like a missionary. Don´t spend the first 5 minutes you are home trying to fit in with everyone else.¨ A mission changes people. It changes your investigators and it changes you. Be forever changed. 

Dia Cinco: Another wonderful day in the CCM. It´s beautiful here! I LOVE it. 

My first set of  Spanish Scriptures

Dia numero seis: Today. My first Pday. It has been wonderful. I am so happy here. I LOVE my companion. There is such a wonderful change that happens to people here in the CCM. Even if I were to come home right now, I would be forever changed like Elder Holland said. There is no way that I could go home and be the same person I was because of the experiences that I have been blessed with here. 

I´m out of time. I love you all. Honest and truly, I do.

I would say consider yourself hugged but since I´m a missionary.....consider yourself given a really heart felt handshake. 

Much love sent from Mexico to Utah,

Hermana Childs